PDC Rick Warren's best-selling book The Purpose Driven Church has become a bit of a classic since its release in 1995. Rick is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California and the founder of pastors.com, an excellent web site resource for church leaders.

Each church is driven by something – tradition, personality, or programs. Rick proposes that churches should be driven by the purposes of God. Based on his study of the Bible, he proposes five core purposes of every church:

  1. Worship – "Love the Lord with all your heart"
  2. Ministry - "Love your neighbour as yourself"
  3. Evangelism – "Go and make disciples"
  4. Fellowship – "Baptising them"
  5. Discipleship – "Teaching them to obey"

A healthy church has a balance of these five purposes. All of them are pursued with passion. None of them are to be neglected. Churches need to do everything 'on purpose'.

Rick goes on to show how Jesus attracted crowds of people from the local community. Yet he never said, "I will build by crowd." He loved the crowds but he also called them to greater commitment. Those who responded became his disciples and part of his core team. He trained them to go and reach even greater crowds of people with the message of the kingdom. The church today is called to do the same.  

This book is essential reading for any church leader or person passionate about seeing the church become all it can in our generation.

7 thoughts on “The Purpose-Driven Church

  1. It is a modern classic.
    changed many peoples thinking, created a lot of healthy tension….
    One of the great things about Rick is his wisdom in the public sphere.

  2. Hi Mark, I read it several years ago and found it quite useful. It was one book I had intended to read for a while and finally got around to after reading “A purpose driven life”.
    Like Mark above I like Rick’s wisdom in the public arena too. One of my favourite sayings is “we can disagree without being disagreeable”.

  3. Mark ,
    Just a few thoughts… questions.. should we be purpose driven…or spirit led? (the word driven has some real negative modern connotations) … are we human beings..relational, or human doings?task oriented, I see many ‘driven’ people in churches.. another thought to ponder ..is the Church first …the community.. or… the family of God? quite different concepts, with the fomrer gaining rapid ascendency over the latter in the last 10 – 20 years.
    ..my observation is that we take better ownership and care of things owned by ‘family’ than we do ‘community’.. How do you think these mindsets work their way out in Churches? Curious..
    Mark G.

  4. Hi Mark. That’s a really good comment.
    The word ‘driven’ today has fairly negative associations. ‘Directed’ may be a better word and yes, I agree, primarily we need to be ‘Spirit-driven’, or better said, ‘Spirit-led’.
    However, the five purposes of the church that Rick outlines in his book are all a good articulation of New Testament teaching on the church, despite the problem with the word ‘driven’.

  5. Thank you Mark for your blog – I regularly look at it and find it most informative. Thank you for the gift of this information to the wider body of Christ. You and your church are a blessing to the wider church. Gerry Riviere CHBC pastor

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